|Continuing a 50-plus-year tradition of change, integrator MidCo Systems has a renewed focus on providing network and data services to supplement its traditional security and telecommunications business.|
Since its founding as a two-person intercom and paging company in 1960, MidCo Systems has almost constantly evolved. Today, the Burr Ridge, Ill.-based systems integrator has 100 employees in two offices and provides structured wiring, security systems, network solutions and carrier services to clients all over the United States.
In keeping with tradition, the 2009 SDM Integrator of the Year honoree has worked hard to stay current, if not ahead of the rapidly changing times and technologies within the security industry. And while the company has seen its share of change in its 50-plus years, the current migration to IP is much different than anything the industry has seen before, says Paul Janik, MidCo’s president.
“The change is different this time because it’s a complete revamp of the technology. In the past, you had proprietary phone and security systems equipment that stayed within their own systems and their own areas,” he says. “Now those same devices — phones, cameras and readers — are all IP-based, so they come through as part of the network infrastructure. So it’s a wholesale change-out of the infrastructure.”
The move to IP has also changed the way MidCo and others source equipment.
“The distribution channel has changed as well. There used to be defined places where you would get equipment, but now there are multiple places,” Janik says.
Recognizing the magnitude and potential opportunity of the move to IP, MidCo has recently focused on evolving into a more networking- and data-centric company, as opposed to focusing solely on its traditional security and telecommunications equipment, Janik says.
“Today, everything is migrating to an appliance that sits on the network, so over the last few years, we’ve been working to bolster our data capabilities,” he says. “Over the last few years, we’ve worked to migrate the talents of our technical people from security and telecommunications to be more ‘data people.’ We’ve migrated toward a separate division, if you will, to go after data as a whole rather than just sitting on the network as an appliance.”
While MidCo had some networking knowledge as a company, the industry’s move to IP forced the company to ramp up that knowledge quickly.
“We’ve had to further develop some skills that we had in the past,” Janik says. “Eight years ago, we started with one guy doing data, and we put in maybe one network a year. As we’ve put in more systems, we’ve kept adding people. We’ve both grown them internally and hired from outside, and if we need more people, we’ll either subcontract or hire a new person with those skills.”
MidCo started by offering its networking and data services to its customer base because “they know you, so it’s an easier sell than going to someone who doesn’t,” Janik says. And while the bulk of its business still comes from its core products and services, MidCo has had quite a bit of success with its new model.
“The economy hasn’t been kind to anybody over the last three years, but we’ve been able to grow our business in that time and offer new services to our customers,” he says.
The renewed focus is more than simply a business and staffing decision, but is part of an overall attempt to shift the mindset of the entire company to make sure everyone — from top to bottom — is on the same page. “We’re working on getting everyone in the company to be more data-centric,” Janik says.